Tu es sacerdos in aeternum - Thou art a priest forever!
Ordinary hands. Hands that fix things, hands we shake, hands that type emails and catch balls - ordinary hands. In the space of a few brief moments, these ordinary hands are transformed. They will still do ordinary things, but they can never again be ordinary hands. In the ordination of a priest of Jesus Christ, the presiding Bishop anoints the Deacon's hands with sacred chrism. Blessed by the Bishop yearly at the Chrism Mass, this sacred oil, a blend of olive oil and balsam, signifies an abundant outpouring of sacramental grace. Oil, symbol of strength, and balsam, indicative of preservation from corruption, together express the spiritual strength endowed on the ordinand to live the sublime vocation indelibly imprinted on his soul.
These now extraordinary hands, dripping with sacred chrism, are wrapped in a maniturgium, a fine linen rectangle cloth, allowing the excess oil to be absorbed. In many places, it has been customary for the newly ordained priest to present this linen to his mother, to be buried with her. Among other things, this gesture symbolizes the deep connection between the mother and her son's priestly ministry, mirroring that of our Lady at the foot of the cross.
Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for our priests!
The completed maniturgium with the Dominican amice
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